The Tragedy at the Loomis Street Crossing After five years of intense research, Author Chuck Spinner has written the definitive story of the Naperville Train Wreck of April 25, 1946. He has uncovered the histories of the 45 victims of the tragedy, interviewed two surviving eye witnesses of the event, and talked with survivors and helpers at the scene. His family lived just a block from the crossing where the accident occurred. Spinner was born at St. Charles Hospital in Aurora, Illinois on October 22, 1946. Thomas Chaney, severely injured in the train wreck, was released from this same hospital on December 18th, 1946. Perhaps, during his recovery, Thomas may have viewed John and Louise Spinner's infant son in the nursery. If so, Chaney would have never imagined that he was viewing the person, who 66 years later would write the story that he had just lived!
“It came fast. I watched it horrified. The train came on bigger and bigger. I saw a man climbing down from the engine cab, and start down the ladder. That's all I saw. I turned and ran yelling warnings toward the front of my coach. The next second it hit.” - Raymond “Jake” Jaeger “When the crash came I was thrown to the top of the car, turned a somersault and came down. A pile of people fell on me. I kicked out a window and climbed out. I think a woman behind me was killed.” - Sol Greenbaum “I didn't think I'd make it through the war. ...I went through all that in the Pacific only to come home and have this happen. We were in the rear car and our seats faced forward. I got up to put my coat in the (overhead) rack and looked back to see the other train coming.” - Henry Faber “It was worse than anything I ever saw in war!” - George Whitney “That was some wreck. I wonder how many people who live in Naperville now even know the wreck happened.” - Rosie Hodel
Image Caption: Chuck Spinner and his wife Patrice are pictured with their son Scott, Scott’s wife, Ellen and their two grandchildren Caleb (left) and Joshua.